Freitag, 23. September 2011

Catfish and cucumbers

Today I got two big garden cucumbers. They are not of the same kind as this small cucumbers for pickles or the big deep green for salad. Inside they hide lots of nasty seeds and they have small thorns in the peel.

They would never win a beauty contest. That is for sure! And there is more:
I like the smell of freshly cut garden cucumbers very much, but I don't dare to eat them raw. There is something in this kind of cucumber which sets my stomach on fire. I decided to cook them. Cooked or pickled: no pain at all for me.
Thinking about cucumber vegetables there is only one recipe I am really fond of, besides pickled cucumbers: Cucumber sliced and cooked in a cream sauce accompanied by a nice fish filet and lots of dill.
catfish with cucumber vegetable

I took:
400 g catfish fillet (wels), trimmed in two nice even fillets - and scraps (1 handful) 
2 big garden cucumbers, peeled, quartered, seeds and watery flesh removed by a spoon, sliced in 0,5 cm slices
1 bunch dill, leaves and tender stems only, roughly chopped
1/2 carrot, diced in really small cubes (brunoise)
1 cm slice cellery root, diced in really small cubes (brunoise)
1 red onion, diced
250 ml cream (for whipping)
150 ml fish broth
1 laurel leave
1 sip Noilly Prat
1 tablespoon butter
lemon pepper
lemon juice
cajun seasoning (mixture of chili, pepper, allspice, tarragon, garlic)
instant flour
oil for frying

Salt cucumber slices and let rest about 30 minutes. Afterwards rinse the slices with water, strain them.
Melt butter in a pan and add diced onion. Cook on medium heat until onion gets translucent. Add carrot and cellery brunoise. Let sweat just 1 minute - no colouring by roasting! Deglace with fish broth, cream and Noilly Prat. Add laurel leave and simmer until the liquid is nearly halved. Get rid of laurel leave. Add cucumber to the sauce and simmer about 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and lemon pepper. Never cook the cream on high temperature!

Meanwhile sprinkle the fish with a little lemon juice, salt and a good amount of cajun seasoning. Toss fish in flour until lightly dusted and fry in oil (I used a wok) until fish is done (depends on the thickness of the fish).

Serve fish with cucumber cream sauce. Just before serving add dill to sauce.

Now what to do with the scraps.
fish fritters with aioli
I used the flat and pointed end of the fish fillet, some parts from the sides with some left over fish bones and a part of the fish belly and diced the scraps roughly. I put the fish cubes, a little separated, in the freezer. After 30 miuntes I gave the very cold fish cubes into a blender, added 1 slice french white bread (without crust, cut in cubes, soaked in water and squeezed dry), 2 small scallions, trimmed and sliced, 1 small egg, salt, lemon pepper, chili flakes and a few drops worcester sauce and blend them together. I let the knife run for a few short rounds until the ingredients were finely grounded - without bigger bits and pieces.
Afterwards I formed small patties - golf ball ize (with wet hands, batter is sticky) and tossed them in corn flour. I fried the fritters in oil until golden and crisp and served them hot with Aioli (garlic mayonnaise).

The wels was really fresh, not grown too big. Sometimes old aged (years of growth) and big sized wels taste a little bit like pond mud mixed with fish oil. So I always have a sharp eye at the fish size and meat structure before buying. Lucky, this one was perfect - a feast.

I bought two trouts too. They sleep in a spiced salt brine until tomorrow.



Hiroyuki hat gesagt…

Catfish?! It may sound strange, but catfish are not a common ingredient in present Japan.

Both dishes look delicious, especially the second one. I wish I could have the patties with some ponzu (laugh). (I'm on a diet.)

Fräulein Trude hat gesagt…

Maybe you don't have the same catfish: Wels. Wels is common in most of the german lakes. They use to tell some horror stories and fairy tales about the big ones: That a "Monster"-Wels ate a small dog who was taking a swim. That there lives a Wels in a pond (nearly every pond) larger than 3 m (no one would like to take a swim with this buddy). My husband ate most of the patties. He is a very tall and slim guy. I only ate one - guess why... True: Mayonnaise and cream sauce are no good for people on a diet.

Sissi hat gesagt…

It's funny. I used to eat catfish a lot as a child (it was delicious), but also in France catfish is looked like non-edible fish ;-) In the tales I used to read as a child catfish was always the wise animal (moustache and eye glasses).
I have never cooked cucumbers in my life! It sounds very unusual!